*Jude Nwauzor, Head, Corporate Communications, AMCON
The sale of the newly licensed Polaris Bank Limited will commence soon, it was learnt yesterday. Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), which is the new owner of the bank will soon speak on way forward for the new lender especially on its sale to new investors. Mr. Jude Nwauzor, AMCON spokesperson said that AMCON Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Ahmed Lawan Kuru (ALK), is currently unavailable but will soon explain the planned sale of the Deposit Money Bank (DMB) to financial journalists in the country.
Nwauzor said, “I am not in the position right now to tell you anything concrete regarding the bank but my MD/CEO will at the right time make known to financial journalists when AMCON will begin the processes in line with our mandate. Our processes are very transparent and this assignment will not be different.”
However, financial pundits said that new investors are expected to see the value in the new bank and buy it from AMCON, which is the new owner. Polaris Bank Limited, which took over the defunct Skye Bank Plc, under the ownership of the federal government represented by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) seamlessly resumed normal banking activities on Monday. Recall that the bank was taken over the weekend leading to a lot of speculations but on Monday, our checks across different branches showed that normal banking activities were on and a good number of customers of the bank expressed no fears especially with the injection of huge funds into the bank.
AMCON has also recapitalized Polaris Bank Limited to the tune of N786 billion and has commenced the process of sourcing local and international investors to buy out AMCON. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele had at the revocation of the defunct Skye Bank license assured that depositors’ funds remain safe at Polaris Bank Limited and that normal banking services will continue in the new lender.
Thus, all customers of Skye Bank have become automatic customers of the new bank and their accounts and records duly purchased by Polaris Bank. Also, given the good performance of the board and management, the CBN has retained them. In addition, all employees of Skye Bank have been absorbed by Polaris Bank under a new contract unless any employee decides to opt out. The CBN had last Friday revoked the operating license of Skye Bank Plc for its continuous reliance on CBN for liquidity support.
The defunct Skye Bank has been on CBN’s lifeline since July 2016 and the apex bank says it can no longer continue to intervene to keep the bank liquid. The focus of the action then, he added, was to save depositors’ funds and to ensure that the bank continued as a going concern, being a systemically important bank. “As a responsible and responsive regulator and in consultation with the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), we have decided to establish a bridge bank, Polaris Bank, to assume the assets and liabilities of Skye bank,” the CBN said.